My very own e-bike!!!

Saturday I got my very own e-bike!
I love it so much, I can't say enough about it! It's called a Hey Bike Mars 2.0.
     Right after I got it, I rode a huge chunk of the Greenway (a lovely paved pathway that runs alongside the Roanoke River through the whole city), more than I've been able to cover on foot. And I stopped to have tea in Wasena, a place I’ve been dying to go to, but that was always just a little too far to walk. I parked it where I could stare at it while enjoying my tea. I couldn't stop smiling. It was especially fun when folks walked by and noticed it, saying "Cool bike!" It IS!
     It's a little different from riding a regular bicycle. It has "peddle assist" which means that whenever you start peddling, a little bit of power kicks in. You can keep peddling, or stop peddling and use the throttle on the handle bar. (And you can adjust how much it helps and how fast it goes.) It can go up to 40mph, but so far I've only had it up to about 18mph. I'll use it to go downtown to the farmer's market, go shopping, meet friends, etc. Downtown Roanoke is so awesome, but parking is expensive and crowded. I'm thinking this will get me out and about more. So far (Day 1!) it has!
Ever since I got rid of my R1200c I've dreamed of having a motorcycle again. Not for fast rides, but for the ease of kicking around. My dreams have literally come true!
Isn't it gorgeous? I am having FUN!!!!🤩 🚲💕

Friday Links List

From JSTOR: How American Librarians Helped Defeat the Nazis

From the New York Times: A Bird’s-Eye View of a Technicolor World: Scientists have devised a new video system that reveals how animals see color, and us. Fascinating! Especially if you're a color geek!

From PW: The Top 10 Children's and YA Stories of 2023 - interesting!

From PW: A handy-dandy calendar of book events to plug into Google - and they're keeping it updated - YAY!!!

From TheThings via PW Children's Bookshelf: Dolly Parton Has Spent Over $500 Million On Books For Kids For A Sentimental Reason. She's my HERO!

From CBR via PW Children's Bookshelf: Percy Jackson Disney+ Series Fixes a Major YA Franchise Problem [a lack of diversity]

From TheWrap via PW Children's Bookshelf: The Best YA Shows of 2023

From The New York Times: Like His Illustrations, Leo Lionni Contained Multitudes: The illustrator of classic children’s books like “Frederick” and “Swimmy” was also a painter, sculptor, graphic designer and more.

At the Eric Carle Museum: Alphabet Soup: How Picture Books Are Made, From A to Z, January 13 - June 2, 2024

From PW: Veristage Launches Insight, an AI Platform for Book Publishers

From PW: 2024 Hans Christian Andersen Award Shortlist Announced

From PW: "This spring is packed to the gills with great comics, graphic novels, and manga for all ages, which we’ve rounded up in our third annual standalone preview of the category."

Vashti Harrison is the first Black woman to win a Caldecott with her touching picture book, BIG. PW interviewed her about her win, HERE.

Christopher Denise does it again!

I'm thrilled that Hollins' own Christopher Denise has created a sequel to his Caldecott honor-winning KNIGHT OWL.
Drum roll please...
I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Hugging Aliens

     My hugging theme continues for this upcoming Valentines Day - even if it's an alien love!
CLICK HERE for more Valentine's Day-themed coloring pages
     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! Especially... Merbaby's Love! Click the cover to learn about this sweet lullaby board book written by New York Times Best-selling author, Jane Yolen! Makes a GREAT baby shower gift!
If my news and images add value to your life, won't you please
Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

And the Caldecott goes to...

Drum roll please!
BIG, written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison.
I knew it was something special the first time I saw it. This is a well-earned award!!

CLICK HERE to see the full list of ALA award winners!

Hollins U Writer's Retreat

You want to know how a university supports their faculty? They host a Writer's Retreat at the university library and serve them lunch and provide snacks and basically just give them the time and space to simply sit and write. That's exactly what Hollins University did recently, and I was thrilled to take part. I got to sit in a big cumfy chair on the balcony level of the library with an amazing view (below is my view from the left to the right) for a week. And happily, it worked! I wrote over 13,000 words in my book on picture book design that is due to Bloomsbury UK in February 2025! What a gift to be given the opportunity to focus for a solid week. And it's good for everyone involved. I got work done, and when my book is published, it will help make the university look good—a win-win! I hope to participate in the Writers Retreat every year from now on. Thank you, Hollins U!!!

Holiday Catch-up

The holidays were a blur of activity, so I'll try to wrap them up in this post!
     Friends and I attended the Roanoke Christmas Parade, which was a little larger than the City of Rock Hill parade, but equally as fun. I especially liked the stilt-walkers...
And the brilliant Polar Express train...
But my fave was the bagpipes! Made me feel like I was in Scotland again - almost...
I finally had time to visit one of the Asian grocery stores in Roanoke to see if I could duplicate some of the yummy food I had in Shanghai. This was a first attempt working with Korean Rice Cakes. (I don't know why they are called "cakes" when they look like really fat noodles!)
I purchased a Korean sauce, fish cakes (again, this came in a stick shape that looked like little flowers when cut), and cooked it all up. It wasn't bad for a first attempt, but I can do better.
It certainly wasn't the same as the crab dish I had in Hangzhou! Gadzooks that was good!
This was the first time in a long time that I had an actual front door to decorate for the holidays. Watch this get more obnoxious over the years! Although, I thought it was quite pretty... (I did tell you I now live in the ground-floor apartment of a 100-year-old Victorian, yes?)
     But I didn't get to enjoy it for long because I drove down to Atlanta for the holidays - a beautiful, 7-hour drive mostly through mountains heading down Interstate 81 through Knoxville and Chattanooga (my old home!). I packed way too many sweaters forgetting that Georgia is a good 10° warmer than the Virginia Appalachians.
     I loved having lunch with old friends like Vicky Alvear Shecter, R. Gregory Christie and his wife Claudia, and Melissa Libby. Sadly, I didn't think to take photos of us or our great meals at the Deer and Dove's bakery (a Michelin-starred restaurant!), Desta Ethiopian (OMG!), and Seed in Marietta.
     Meanwhile, Vicky helped me find another home for one of Stan's Parting Stones - the planter outside The Brick Store Pub, where we used to love to go. The Brick rather embodied everthing we loved about Decatur, which was a very good chapter for us. Here is Stan at our favorite table... probably in 2014 or some such.
And here I am making sure he can enjoy it for all time - or at least for a while longer...
Christmas was fun, although interrupted with some family health issues (which have since been resolved).
     I loved attending Vicky's daughter's wedding. I was planning on wearing that dress I bought in China, but my parents were recently adopted by a baby Puma named "Fred." Fred is a 14-pound kitten who thinks that anything that crinkles is a toy. That included the dry-cleaning bag that housed my dress... yeah. I'll see if I can have it shortened into a cocktail dress. We'll see. Hm. (Click the image to watch him getting into trouble on Youtube.)
Anyhow - back to the wedding. The couple met when they were 15-years-old, and the wedding took place on the 11-year anniversary of their first date. Sometimes, love really does WIN! They're very private, so I'll just share this photo of the venue - but the whole event and the couple was gorgeous.
My gift to myself this year was a hairstyle change. Between bifocals and long hair, I felt half blind most of the time, so I got my hair out of my face with bangs. I'm still getting used to it, but am so enjoying not having to get my hair out of my face all the time!
The drive back to Roanoke was also lovely and I enjoyed "Casey Kasem's Top 100 from 1977" - what a great year for music that was! And the number one hit was Andy Gibb's "I just want to be your everything." Gads, I had such a crush on him! I've also been trying to understand the new genre of "Romantacy" so have been listening to Rebecca Yarros' Fourth Wing. The only difference I can tell between Fantasy and Romantasy is a very explicit sex scene. Otherwise, it's pretty straight forward fantasy.
     So, it was a busy holiday! And it was good to get home to my sweet little apartment and the banquet seat my dad made for my kitchen - it's just so stinkin' cute, I never want to leave it!!!